Summary: We have God’s Word and this is all we need.
Mark 6:30-34, 53-36
“Get Ready For A Great Awakening!!!”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
As most of you know, our son Ben has been at Governor’s Honors School for the past three weeks.
Three weeks ago, Jeanne, Ben and I had to rush from Church in order to get Ben to Richmond by the 1:30 starting time.
And last Sunday was parent’s day, and once again we found ourselves rushing from church so that we could spend a little time with him before he had to be back for curfew.
Has it become so ‘taken for granted’ that people just don’t attend church anymore that not a second thought is given to scheduling such events on Sundays?
There are also a great number of people who are forced—in a sense—to miss church altogether because they have to work on Sundays.
Most stores, and restaurants, and many, many businesses are open on Sundays.
Often children’s soccer games, baseball games and so forth are scheduled during the time that most churches have their worship services.
Of course, if we were to just sit around and blame the world for these problems…it would be mighty self-righteous and naïve of us.
Last week I was speaking to a colleague of mine who told me that through much of the eighties into the 1990’s the pulpit of his church was filled with preachers who literally did not believe in Jesus Christ, Heaven and Hell…
He said to me, “It’s amazing that there is anyone left in this church.”
In the 1700’s there was a Christian Movement that held the attention of the entire English-speaking world, it’s called the Great Awakening.
Perhaps only the Reformation or the apostolic age itself could surpass the spiritual fervor God poured out at that time.
All the preachers that God used to usher in this time…whether they were highly educated ordained clergy or not were people who stuck with sound doctrine, they had a fervor about their faith, and they strove to give their lives 100% to Jesus Christ!
And here lies the key.
Before the Great Awakening struck…the spiritual and moral conditions across the land was foul with corruption and crippled by moral decay.
The people in the ruling class were mainly people who…well…believed in some kind of supreme power…if they were religious at all.
The preaching from the pulpits at that time was quite cold, and the primary concern was that no one should show any sign of being “enthusiastic” about religion.
Meanwhile, public behavior had become extremely outrageous.
For example, the ‘gin craze’ was in full swing in England. Everyone was making their own liquor.
The effect, according to the Bishop of London, was that gin made the people what they never were before—cruel and inhuman.
In those days, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
Street children and the insane were treated cruelly, gambling was everywhere, and stage productions were obscene…even by today’s standards.
The point is that a Great Awakening was just as improbable then, as it may seem today.
Jonathan Edwards, a man who played a great role in the Great Awakening in America is quoted as saying: “Time after time, when religion seemed to be almost gone, and it was come to the last extremity, then God granted a revival.”
He always insisted that there would be times of conflict, remissions and lulls between the sovereign outpourings of the Spirit.
A decline in the spiritual and moral character of our nation, according to Edwards, is to be interpreted as a preparation for an even greater outpouring.
And so, although in the year 2003, we may just throw up our hands and ask the question: “Where is the world going too? Is there any hope?”
Well, the answer is: “Yes!”…
…a great and resounding “Yes!”
In 1 Samuel Chapter 3, before the Lord called Samuel we are told: “In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.”…
…But by the end of that Chapter we are told “The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground….And Samuel’s word came to all Israel.”
Why was this?
It was because Samuel was speaking the Word of God…
…and whenever and wherever the Word of God is spoken…
…There is conversion, revival, the world is turned on its ear and a Great Awakening takes place.
Are we speaking the Word of God?
I’ve had people tell me that out of all their acquaintances…they are the only ones who go to church or take their children to church.
Let’s face it—a very large percentage of those living around us…
…of the children we see riding their bikes and skateboards…